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MEPs Sink Billions Into Fisheries Fleet Subsidies

MEPs on the European Parliament Fisheries Committee voted to provide €1.6 billion worth of subsidies to improve the capacity of EU fishing fleets and diversify local economies that have been hard hit by the decline of this sector. While the stated aim of the support is to increase the sustainability of the fisheries industry, investment in new boats and equipment will provide an operational increased range and an ability to stay longer at sea, which in turn will allow fishermen to reach the last remaining fish stocks that are located far from their home ports.
This vote is not at all consistent with the position MEPs took in the “Basic Regulation” that was just agreed and looks at a promoting a real increase in fish numbers. The deal also has failed to provide funds to implement schemes aimed at improving participation of NGOs and other stakeholders in fisheries management and conservation measures.
Quote from Tony Long, Director, WWF European Policy Office:
“This deal will set the recovery of stocks back decades especially in areas like the Mediterranean where the bulk of funds on fleet renewal will be spent. Members of the Fisheries Committee were asked to come up with a plan that could promote sustainable fisheries over the long-term. Instead we have a situation where over 20,000 vessels will be eligible for funding to upgrade that could eventually destroy remaining fish stocks.”

“As this now passes to the European Parliament plenary we call on all MEPs to end this situation where too many boats are chasing too few fish and to reallocate funds to promote fish stock recovery and habitat restoration.”